It’s been nearly a decade since prolific comic writer Mark Millar and legendary artist John Romita Jr. first introduced us to teenage vigilante Dave Lizewski in his green and yellow jumpsuit, as he tried to clean up his neighbourhood using nothing more than a nightstick, a good bout of literal hardheadedness and help from a nutjob costume-wearing father-daughter duo. The hyper-violent Kick-Ass was an instant comic book smash hit and eventually saw itself adapted to screen with two movies (a great Matthew Vaughn directed 2010 original and a rather meh 2013 sequel by some other guy whose name I can’t even remember).
It also spawned a just as popular spinoff comic focusing on Hit-Girl, the foul-mouthed ruthless young girl popularized by Chloe Grace Moretz’s onscreen portrayal of her. But that was all years ago, and Millar has been very quiet on the ass-kicking front. However, that all changed yesterday when after a week of teasing the popular Scottish born comic scribe unveiled plans (via EW) to bring Kick-Ass back next year… but it will no longer be Dave Lizewski under that mask.
Say hello to Patience Lee, a black mother of two who is also an ex-Afghanistan military veteran. This is quite the jump from the previous geeky teen boy who carried the mantle of Kick-Ass, but according to Millar this is all part of giving the character a legacy.
The original four volumes of Kick-Ass, the Dave Lizewski story, got tied up a couple of years ago and this is a brand new character. I’d always wanted to do what Doctor Who or The Flash does and create a legacy character, Kick-Ass being designed for that. The idea is that he inspires other people to do what he did, just putting on a costume and cleaning up their neighborhood, and that’s what happens here,
Now if you listen real closely, you can already hear a certain portion of the internet crying to the heavens about how another white comic book character is being changed to blatantly pander to the politically correct crowd. Honestly? Stuff those people. Legacy characters are the perfect method of making comics, previously the primary domain of white male power fantasies, more inclusive. And it doesn’t get more inclusive than Patience Lee as so many readers would be able to identify with this mother who already served her country and now wants to protect her family.
I wanted to shake up the setting a little and shifted the whole thing to New Mexico. The lead is a woman this time, a mother in her early 30s with two young kids. She’s also a military vet who came home to find her life in a completely different setting from the way it was when she went to Afghanistan so the actual dynamic of the book is really different, but at the same time the flavor is identical.
I don’t think I’ve ever created a better [character]. I love mom heroes. I did it in Empress and I’ve done it again here.
While the lead character and setting may be a big change, one thing that will stay the same is the art, as Millar lured back original artist Romita Jr. to pencil this new chapter as well. Romita Jr. is obviously a bit of legacy comic book character himself as his father was also a famous artist. After being a long-time Marvel-exclusive artist he had recently moved to DC Comics to work on major Batman stories including All-Star Batman and Dark Knights: Metal, so for Millar to get him back on Kick-Ass is a big deal.
Kick-Ass itself is also changing comic book houses though – originally printed under Marvel’s creator-owned Icon imprint, it’s now moving to Image Comics. This was apparently part of the agreement Millar made when he sold his comic book company Millarworld to Netflix recently, and it was during that transition that this new Kick-Ass was born.
When we sold Millarworld to Netflix, two properties weren’t part of the deal. Kingsman and Kick-Ass both had unique arrangements with Matthew Vaughn and it made sense for these to continue, so in the year or so where we were preparing the sale I came up with this great idea for a whole new take on Kick-Ass. The entire story was all completely written in that year… It’s crazy to think that in the 10 years since it was created, Kick-Ass has spawned two Hollywood movies, video-games, toys, key-rings, PEZ dispensers, and even an upcoming board game. So the idea of it lying dormant was just insane and to be honest it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing anything. I really love that world.
We will be able to jump into that world ourselves when the new Kick-Ass launches monthly starting February 2018. Can’t wait that long? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a short preview courtesy of EW. Click to enlarge.
Last Updated: November 16, 2017